Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2015
Texts: Luke 19:28–40, Zechariah 9:9, 13, Luke 19:45–48, Matthew 21:12–17, Luke 20:9–26.
Matthew Dellavedova. Andre Iguodala. Timofey (not Timothy) Mozgov. Iman Shumpert. Two weeks ago the only people who knew these names were die-hard fans of the two NBA teams that made it to the championship finals: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. Within just a few days these names were burned into the consciousness of even the most casual basketball fan. In the last two weeks thousands of people discovered that Stephan Curry goes by Steph, not Steve. During this past week one of these two teams—either the undermanned but scrappy Cavaliers, or the young but talented Warriors—was crowned world champions.
In the last two weeks people across the nation, who in the beginning had no rooting interest in either team, began taking sides. Some learned to love or hate the favorites, and others now love or hate the underdogs. Few who watched these finals finished the series feeling non-committal. In the end, basketball fans either enjoyed crowning the champion, or they now look forward to seeing the team at the top fall from that lofty perch next season.1
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, many were still trying to figure out who He was. Was He the underdog, or the favorite, to take the throne of David and restore the lost fortunes of Israel? His enemies wanted to see Him fall from the pedestal on which His fans had placed Him. His die-hard fans wanted to crown Him king right then. Others were not sure either way.
By the end of the week nobody in Jerusalem was non-committal about their opinion of Jesus. Nearly all of them declared their allegiance to Caesar rather than this pretender to the Jewish throne. In just a few days the entire city, swollen with visitors for the Passover celebration, polarized into two camps: a few who still loved Jesus no matter what, and the rest who would kill Him on the spot if they could.
In our lesson today, we see that Jesus wasn’t much of a politician. He did little to win the votes of the people during that week in Jerusalem. He closed down several businesses. He debated and eventually alienated the very political leaders who could have rallied the masses to His side. Even His future cabinet members—the disciples—began to wonder if Jesus was really up to the task. If He really wanted to be crowned king, He surely didn’t have the political savvy to pull it off.
Apparently Jesus, as King of the universe, had His eyes set on a different throne.
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